A while back, Larry over at OF Blog of the Fallen posted this list of fives. I’ve decided to turn each into its own post on my blog, with one modification: all of them will be specific to science fiction and fantasy. Hopefully nobody will have a problem with this change.
First up, as the title suggests:
I was saddened when Baker passed away last year. She was not only a gracious author who indulged this silly fan by answering questions for an interview, but she was also a writer of amazing works of fiction across multiple genres. The House of the Stag is still one of my favorite novels of all time and is sure to stay in my top ten for the foreseeable future. I loved the book so much that I am hesitant to read The Anvil of the World because I know it will be the last time I get to read something fresh and new from the world that sucked me in and never let go. One day I’ll read it,
but when I’m done, I won’t be happy with myself. Then again, maybe I will be…
One of the things that I love about Elizabeth Bear is her willingness to challenge the conventions of the genre. Her stories deal with issues of sexuality and gender in unique and intriguing ways, particularly Dust and Carnival, two of my favorite works by her (I like Dust best). I love traditional stories as much as the next guy, but I also love to see different kinds of characters put on the center stage, whether they’re gay, transgender, or somehow “non-normative” (for lack of a better term). I also appreciate that Bear does not write stereotypical takes on such characters. Not every novel with gay people in it is erotica, folks! Seriously!
Susan Beth Pfeffer
As an indicator of how much I love Pfeffer’s work, I’ve reviewed all three of her science fiction novels (Life As We Knew It, The Dead and the Gone, and This World We Live In) and interviewed her three times (here, here, and here — notice how I get better at that whole interviewing thing each time).
There you have it. They’re mostly new names, I’m afraid. This has to do with the fact that I am not well read in female authors pre-1990 and most of the authors from the New Wave and the Golden Age period are simply not my favorites (Le Guin is good, but I’ve only really enjoyed one of her books — The Dispossessed). Feel free to check out my marked up SF/F Mistressworks list to see how poorly read I am; I am embarrassed…
Runners up: Lauren Beukes (review: Zoo City; interview here), Karen Miller (reviews: The Innocent Mage and The Awakened Mage; interview here) and Jo Walton (reviews: Farthing and Ha’Penny). I love the work of all three of these authors, but I have to pick five. It’s hard to make these three Runners Up, but it has to be done.